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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 3, 2014 at 4:14 PM

Banned NBA owner: Sets precedent; others in the spotlight behave hypocritically, too

Sets precedent for other offenses

Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s private conversation expressing personal views that are highly offensive to many Americans has resulted in a lifetime ban from the NBA [“The NBA’s affirmative action,” Opinion, May 1].

What does this mean for the conduct of NBA athletes or anyone associated with professional sports? Clearly a line has been drawn. If an offensive opinion expressed in a personal conversation justifies a lifetime ban, surely we can expect illegal drug use, domestic violence and other crimes to quickly thin the rosters. Locally, this decision provides the reference point for dealing with the two suspended Husky football players who viciously attacked a stranger.

Donald Sterling’s offensive personal views may turn out to be a watershed moment for professional sports. From this moment on, we can trust that athletes, owners and coaches will hold their behavior — both public and private — to the highest ethical standards or risk a lifetime ban.

Eric Verzuh, Seattle

Others in the national spotlight behave hypocritically, too

I applaud syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts for his column shining light on the hypocrisy in how our culture deals with the utterances of Donald Sterling and Cliven Bundy [“On race, meet dumb and dumberer,” Opinion, April 29]. It appears that Sterling’s bigotry was common knowledge in the NBA, but it took a very public exposure before NBA Commissioner Adam Silver took action.

Pitts focused on race, but I would submit that this hypocrisy extends much further than race and is a natural characteristic of our humanity in that it is not just practiced by people of low character (Bundy and Sterling) but also by some of the most respected people of our country.

As an example, Warren Buffett, who has previously advocated the importance of institutional investors speaking out against excessive executive compensation, chose to abstain in voting his company’s 400 million shares against Coca-Cola’s equity compensation plan.

If he had done so, given his and Berkshire Hathaway’s stature, it is probable that Coca-Cola’s board of directors might have acted differently. It is also possible that this might have been a tipping point on the whole issue of excessive compensation.

I personally find this act of hypocrisy more disturbing than that of Bundy or Sterling.

Richard Thompson, Bellevue

Comments | More in Affirmative action, Sports | Topics: Adam Silver, Berkshire Hathaway, Cliven Bundy

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